GPO commissions

Greetings telegrams

Between 1938 and 1949 (possibly also before 1938) Paine worked on a number of commissions for the Post Office.   The Greeting Telegram below was issued in March 1938.

PO Greetings Telegram - pub in Evening Standard DONE

Of this telegram the London Evening Standard said, ‘The Post Office would seem, under the influence of Major Tryon, to be growing somewhat whimsical.   Following the success of the greetings telegram, of which no fewer than 6 million have been delivered, they have produced a new one for the spring.   It follows the design of a Victorian sampler, and its motif is suggested by flowers bursting into bloom.   But the flowers have nothing to do with the case, tra-la;  for delicately insinuated into the design is a bird building its nest.   Young man and maiden are depicted in their respective abodes, but distance has no qualms for them.   A youthful and modern Mercury, smart uniformed as a Post Office messenger, is seen speedily carrying happy greetings from man to maid in the familiar golden envelope.’

Rough for Greetings Telegram

Paine’s rough for the telegram (above) underwent a number of changes.   The artist’s name was reduced in size and relocated to the top right hand corner.   The maiden’s hand was made clearer and a bird added just above it.   Numerous other small changes of form and colour were made.

This study (below) for the telegram, designed by Paine, was worked by the Royal School of Needlework where he was employed from 1932 to 1934 to re-organise the Training School Design and Drawing classes.

Study for Telegram by Royal School of Needlework

Paine produced two further designs for greetings telegrams but I don’t know if these were issued by the PO.   There may have been others that I am unaware of.

Greetings telegram

Design for a Birthday Greetings telegram  (undated).   Art work in acrylic.

Greetings telegram 2

Design for a greetings telegram 1949.   Art work in acrylic.

Telephone service flyers

Cheap Trunk Calls


Telephone service ad

Art work in acrylic.   Undated.

Telephone flyer


Cable Ship Display

The Glasgow Exhibition in 1938 was described by the Illustrated London News as ‘the world’s greatest enterprise of its kind’ since the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924.   Paine was commissioned to design the Cable Ship Display which British Textile Designers Today (1939) described as ‘a vigorous architectural display’.   Apart from the images below I know nothing further about this work.

Cable Ship Display

Detail 3 Cable Ship Exhibition        Cable Ship detail 3

Cable Ship detail         Cable Ship Exhibit detail

Cable Ship Display triptych

Cable Ship Display original art work      Cable Ship Display original artwork                 Original art work in acrylic

Cable Ship Display entwined snakes

Art work in acrylic.

The Night Mail

It is tempting to think this work was done in connection with the 1936 film Night Mail but I have no evidence for that.   It is certainly possible that Paine was working on publicity material for the GPO at that time.

Night Mail complete

Study for Night Mail

Letters study for Night Mail

Study for Night Mail  2

Study for Night Mail Weasel

Studies for The Night Mail.   Gouache.



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